Tourist Visa For Switzerland: Travel To Switzerland From The US

Jun 13, 2022

16 min read

Switzerland - what's not to love?

Personally, it's my favorite destination! In fact, I find myself visiting Switzerland so frequently that it's gotten to the point where I'm researching how to get permanent residency.

Nevertheless, I know permanent residency is not why you clicked on this post. I bet you want to learn more about the Switzerland Tourist Visa, the visa requirements, and how to apply for one - am I right?

Well, you've come to the right place! If visiting Switzerland has taught me one thing, it's definitely - how to successfully apply for the Swiss Tourist Visa.

With that said, let's jump right into it:


How To Get The Swiss Schengen Visa Now

What if I told you, you could get a Swiss Tourist Visa right now - without reading through this post. Simply apply through Atlys!.

You can submit your application (with all the required documents) in under 10 minutes! All you need to do is enter your travel dates and personal information. After that, Atlys will do all the tedious paperwork for you.

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Travel To Switzerland From The US

If you're a US citizen, you'll be happy to know that traveling to Switzerland from the US is relatively simple.

"Why?"

US citizens enjoy something called visa-free travel. This means you can travel to Switzerland from the US without applying for a Schengen Visa.

I should mention that if you're a US Green Card Holder, you might have to apply for a Schengen Visa to travel to Switzerland from the US.

So basically, if you're country of origin enjoys visa-free travel to Switzerland, you don't need to apply for a visa to travel to Switzerland from the US. However, if your country of origin does not enjoy these benefits, you'll need to apply for a Switzerland Schengen Visa.

Next, I'll cover the basics of traveling to Switzerland from the US:

Travel To Switzerland From The US: How Does It Work?

Because US citizens don't need to apply for a visa to enter the country, the steps of traveling to Switzerland are pretty straightforward. They are as follows:

  • 1. Book a flight ticket,
  • 2. Travel to Switzerland from the US,
  • 3. Upon arrival, follow the standard border protocols and provide your documents,
  • 4. Enjoy your trip.

What Documents Do I Need To Provide When I Travel To Switzerland From The US?

Upon arrival, you'll need to submit a few documents to border authorities to enter the country. Luckily, the documents you need to submit won't require you to spend days collecting them.

When traveling to Switzerland from the US, you need to provide the following documents:

  • A Valid US passport with a validity of at least 3 months from the date you plan to return to your home country.
  • Proof of the purpose of entry into Switzerland. This can include booked tours, proof of accommodation, tickets to a show, or even a letter from a friend you plan to visit.
  • Proof that you have the financial means to support yourself during your stay. You'll need to have a minimum amount of 92.34€/day (100 CHF). You can provide your bank account statements to prove you have sufficient funds.

What Do I Need To Keep In Mind When Entering Switzerland?

So before traveling to Switzerland from the US, you should keep a few things in mind:

1. The duration you're allowed to visit Switzerland

As a US citizen who enjoys visa-free travel to the Schengen Area, you're only allowed to visit Switzerland for 90 days within every 180 days. It is possible to extend your stay; however, it is difficult as only specific "extension purposes" qualify. As such, I don't recommend extending your Schengen Visa.

2. Border authorities might ask questions surrounding your trip.

First, notice how I say border authorities "might" ask you questions surrounding your trip. I do this because, in most cases, border authorities will simply check your passport, stamp it, and let you through.

Nonetheless, there is always the possibility that authorities will ask for additional information surrounding your trip. This mainly includes the purpose of your travel to Switzerland and if you have funds to support yourself.

If you don't have enough funds, you may be required to submit a declaration of sponsorship by a guarantor at the border.

If you are traveling to Switzerland to visit someone, it may be helpful to have a personal invitation letter from your host or to be met by your host at the airport. This is not mandatory, however.

3. Travel insurance is recommended.

Travel insurance is not mandatory when traveling to Switzerland from the US (for visa-free travelers). However, I recommend you find suitable insurance for the off chance that you need it. Also, be sure that it's valid for the entire duration of your stay.

What Are The Travel Restrictions To Switzerland From The US?

At the moment of my writing this post, there are no travel restrictions when traveling to Switzerland from the US.

Yup, no vaccinations, covid tests, or even quarantine requirements.

Keep in mind that travel restrictions are not set in stone and can change at any moment. Therefore, I recommend you use an up-to-date COVID-19 tool to ensure you learn about the latest requirements.

Quick note: Keep in mind that general hygiene rules are still applicable. This includes wearing a mask, sanitizing, etc.


What Is The Switzerland Schengen Visa?

"So what is this "visa" I need to apply for?"

It's called the Swiss Schengen Visa or the Swiss Tourist Visa. But, no matter what you decide to call it, this is what allows you to enter the country for tourism and short business trips.

Fun fact:

Not all nationals need to apply for a Swiss Schengen Visa to enter the country. For example, US citizens can enter Switzerland without applying for a visa. This is known as visa-free travel. Later in this post, I'll discuss who needs a visa more in-depth.

With the Switzerland Schengen Visa, you can visit the country for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. Additionally, you can visit any one of the Schengen Member States. These Schengen States include:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland (of course).

Quick note: When planning to visit other countries in the Schengen Zone, you'll need to indicate your travel plans within your application. Usually, you can submit a complete travel itinerary and cover letter (which indicates your travel plans).


Key Points Of The Switzerland Tourist Visa

Before I get to the actual application process, I will first answer some common questions I get about the Swiss Tourist Visa. If you already know the basics, feel free to jump to the required documents or the application process.

Who Needs A Switzerland Tourist Visa?

As I briefly mentioned earlier, some nationals don't need to apply for a visa when visiting Switzerland for up to 90 days. So before starting your application, you first need to determine if you need a visa to enter the country. I'll briefly discuss what nationals need a visa:

  • Nationals from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), and the Schengen Area don't need to apply for a visa when visiting Switzerland.
  • Citizens from the US don't need to apply for a visa to enter Switzerland. You can visit the country for a maximum of 90 days without getting a visa.
  • US Green Card holders may need to apply for a Switzerland Tourist Visa when visiting the country. This mainly depends on your country of origin. If your country enjoys visa-free travel, you don't need a visa. In contrast, if you don't enjoy such benefits, you'll need to apply for a Schengen Visa.
  • Citizens from third-world countries (non-EU) that don't enjoy visa-free travel will need to apply for a visa when visiting Switzerland.

I know I haven't covered each country in the world. But don't worry. You can check if citizens from your country need a visa to visit Switzerland here.

When Should I Apply For My Switzerland Tourist Visa?

It's best to start your visa application as early as possible.

"Why?"

To ensure you leave enough time for the application process, visa processing time, and any unforeseen circumstances (like an incomplete application, delayed visa processing times, etc.).

The earliest you can apply for your visa is 3 months before your travel date.

Where Should I Apply For My Switzerland Schengen Visa?

Typically, you'll need to apply at your local Swiss Embassy or Consulates. However, in some cases, Embassies outsource their visa services to authorized Visa Application centers. Therefore, always check at your local Embassy where you should apply for your visa. Alternatively, you can use Atlys to apply for your visa.

US citizens can apply at the following locations.

Quick note: Sometimes, your home country might not have a Swiss Consular or Embassy. In these cases, you need to apply at a Schengen Country's Embassy that represents Switzerland in your home country. You can check what Swiss representatives are in your home country here.

What Is The Switzerland Tourist Visa Fee?

For the Switzerland Tourist Visa, the visa fees are as follow:

  • Adults - €80
  • Children between 6 - 12 years old - €40
  • Children under 6 years - FREE

Quick note: In the event of currency rate fluctuations, the Swiss representation maintains the right to adjust the charged amounts at any moment.

What Is The Processing Time For The Switzerland Schengen Visa?

According to the government website, the processing time for a visa application varies case by case. Generally, it takes around 10 - 15 business days to process your visa.

Keep in mind that a few things can delay the visa processing time. These include:

  • An incomplete/incorrect application form
  • Missing documents
  • A sudden demand for visas
  • Visa policy changes, etc.

What Are The Financial Requirements For The Switzerland Schengen Visa?

A mandatory requirement of the Switzerland Schengen Visa is that you prove you have the financial means to support yourself during your visit. With that said, according to the Swiss Aliens Act of 16 December 2005 (RS 142.20), you'll need to have a minimum amount of 92.34€/day (100 CHF).

For example:

If you plan to visit Switzerland for 10 days, you'll need a minimum amount of €923.40.


What Are The Required Documents For The Switzerland Tourist Visa?

As you probably guessed, you'll need to submit a list of "required documents" for your visa application to be successful. So next, I'll list the exact documents you must submit for the Switzerland Tourist Visa:

  • A complete Schengen Visa application form.
  • 2 identical passport photos that meet the following requirements.
  • A valid passport or travel document. It must be valid for 3 months after your planned trip.
  • Copies of your passport (photo, data, and signature pages only).
  • Notarized copy of proof of residency in the USA, e.g., a valid permanent resident card (green card), H1B visa (plus I-797), F-1 visa (plus I-20), etc.
  • Copies of your previous Schengen Visas issued in the last 5 years (if applicable).
  • A flight itinerary. You can get one for free from Atlys.
  • Proof of accommodation such as a hotel reservation or Airbnb reservation. Get yours free of charge from Atlys.
  • Proof of sufficient funds (bank statements from the last 3 months).
  • Documents that prove your employment status.
  • Medical insurance/health insurance that covers a minimum of €30,000 in medical expenses.
  • An invitation letter when visiting relatives or friends (if applicable)
  • Prepaid return shipping labels. Once your visa is processed, Embassy/Consulate authorities will return your passport via mail.

Quick note: If you're looking for a detailed guide that explains each required document in-depth. Look no further!


How To Apply For The Switzerland Tourist Visa?

Now starts the Switzerland Tourist Visa application process. Generally speaking, the application process is relatively straightforward. However, it can be time-consuming if you don't know what to do. On top of that, it can cause some uncertainty.

Save the hassle. Apply on Atlys in three steps.

Scan documents

An image of a closed passport

Fill in information

A stylized image of the Atlys app

Get your visa!

An image of an open passport receiving a visa stamp
Apply directly from your phone!

To help combat the uncertainty, I've created 3 simple steps you can follow when applying for your next Switzerland Tourist Visa:

Step 1 - Start Collecting All The Required Documents

The list of required documents is quite long. Therefore, I recommend collecting your required documents first. Keep in mind that it might take you a while to gather all these documents. So it's best to start this asap.

The best way to go about collecting your documents is to create a checklist. I've found that it's by far the easiest way to keep track of everything you have and still need to get.

Quick tip: Ensure that you make copies of all your documents and keep them safe. You never know when you might need them again.

Step 2 - Fill Out Your Schengen Visa Application Form

There are 3 ways you can complete the Switzerland Schengen Visa application form:

All you need to do is download the app and enter your travel and personal details. Furthermore, Atlys can get most of the required documents for you (passport photos, employment letters, bank statements, etc.). This can save you loads of time if your trip is imminent.

Number 2 is pretty self-explanatory. Click on the provided link, print it, and fill it out. OR you can just fill it out on your computer/mobile and print it afterward.

    1. Online through the official website

Basically, when completing your application online, you'll be filling in the Schengen Visa form through the website. That's all. It's the same as printing the document and filling it in by pen.

To do this, you need to head over to the official website and register yourself (create an account). Once you've registered, you'll receive an email with your "application link." From there, just click the link and start filling out your application form. If you need help with this, Atlys has created a specific guide that covers the Swiss online application process.

Quick note: Be sure to review your application before submitting it. Submitting an incorrect application can lead to your visa being denied. You can learn about the most common visa mistakes you should avoid when applying for your visa in this guide.

Step 3 - Schedule A Visa Appointment

You only need to schedule an appointment if you haven't collected your biometric information in the past 59 months.

"What is my biometric information?"

Your biometric information includes your fingerprints and digital photograph. Suppose you've been to the Schengen Area in the past 59 months. In that case, your biometric information has already been collected. Therefore, there's no need to schedule an appointment.

If you don't need to schedule an appointment:

You can simply mail your application and required documents to the Embassy or Application Center responsible for processing your visa. Ensure that you include copies of your previous Schengen Visas when doing this.

If you need to schedule an appointment:

In case you need to submit your biometric information, you'll need to schedule a visa appointment. There are a few ways of doing this:

  • Use Atlys's appointment tool on the top of this page
  • Call the Swiss Consulate or Embassy to schedule an appointment
  • Schedule an appointment through an authorized Visa Application Center
  • Book appointment on the government's website

When scheduling an appointment, you need to be flexible. In most cases, you won't be able to book a slot that suits your time preference. For example, you may want an appointment on Monday, but the next available slot is on Saturday.

Quick tip: Keep your schedule open when booking your visa appointment.

Step 4 - Attend Your Visa Appointment

If you don't need an appointment, skip this step.

On the day of your appointment, you'll need to travel to the Embassy or Consulate and submit your Switzerland Visa application alongside all your documents. You may also be asked to attend a short in-person interview with an Embassy staff member.

Afterward, authorities will collect your biometric data.

Step 5 - Wait For Feedback And Receive Your Visa

The final step is to wait for feedback from the Embassy. Your visa will take around 10 - 15 days to be processed. Afterward, authorities will notify you via SMS, email, or your preferred contact method.

Once your Switzerland Tourist Visa is approved, it will be mailed back to you using the prepaid shipping labels you included with your documents.


Congratulations!

You've successfully applied for your new Switzerland Schengen/Tourist Visa. The final step is to pack your bags and get excited! You're almost on your way to one of the most beautiful countries in the Schengen Area!

Here's something to get you excited!

Fact Checked By: Richard Nathan

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Short Term Visa?

If you've ever heard someone talk about the short-term visa, they're actually referring to the Schengen Visa. As you can see, the Schengen Visa has plenty of terms. So to combat confusion, I'll add a list of terms you may come across:

  • The Schengen Visa ​- The Short Term Visa
  • The Short-Stay Visa
  • The Schengen Tourist Visa
  • The Tourist visa
What Is A Invitation Letter?

An invitation letter is a required document when visiting family members or friends in the Schengen Area. For example, when applying for your visa, your relative/friend will write you an invitation letter. It needs to include their personal details, address, trip information, the duration of your stay, and a copy of their residence permit or passport (if they have citizenship).

How To Get A Schengen Visa For Minors?

The process of getting a Schengen Visa for your minor is the same as the process outlined in this post. However, besides the required documents, you'll need to add a few extra documents for your minor. These include:

  • An application form signed by both parents.
  • Your child's birth certificate.
  • Family court order – in cases where only one parent has full custody of the child.
  • Certified copies of ID/passport of both parents.
  • A notarized parental authorization signed by both parents/legal guardians if your child will be traveling alone.
  • If you have stepchildren - A letter from the mother or father that permits the children to travel with you.

If you want to know the exact steps you need to take, check our dedicated Schengen Visa for minors guide.

Can I Extend My Schengen Visa?

First and foremost, do not panic. The original visa decision can be appealed. A visa is usually refused due to minor errors on the application form or the submission of wrong documents. You can, however, appeal the visa decision.

Can I Work In Switzerland With My Schengen Visa?

No. You can't work in a Schengen country if you have a Schengen Visa. You'll need to apply for a National Visa (long-term visa) that allows you to do so instead. Depending on the purpose of your trip, you can apply for the following types of visas:

  • A Study Visa
  • A Work Visa
  • A Long Stay Visa/Temporary Residency Permit
  • And so on.
Do I Need To Leave My Passport At The Embassy?

Yes. You must leave your passport at the Embassy when applying for a Schengen Visa. Your new visa will be attached to your passport once your application has been completed and granted.

What is proof of accommodation?

Proof of accommodation is a tentative itinerary showing your flight tickets & hotel stay but not yet purchased.

Can I re-apply for a Swiss visa after being denied once?

Yes, you can re-apply for a Swiss tourist visa if it has been refused.

Which income proofs can be submitted to show the ability to cover the travel and stay expenses?

Many qualify however, showing a bank statement is the most straightforward. You can also use one of these:

  • invoices of prepaid travels and accommodations

  • Pay stubs

  • travelers’ cheques

  • attested documents showing spouse’s consent in covering the expenses, etc. Other types of visas and document requirements

  • Short-term work visa: Reference letter of the U.S. employer mentioning profile, salary, date of hiring, dates of vacation, and itinerary.

  • Self-employed: Your business existence proof and the client’s details you intend to meet in Switzerland. The proof of income from the business.

  • Foreign students on F-1 visa: A valid I-20, reference letter from an educational institution, education details, and expected date of the end of graduation course.

How long is a short stay visa valid for? Can I leave the Schengen area and come back with the same visa?

The visa sticker contains information on the visa’s validity period and the duration of the authorized stay. A visa can be issued for one entry or multiple entries.

The maximum duration of stay is shown on the visa sticker, and it varies according to the reasons for your stay.

What you must remember

  • You must have left the Schengen area at the latest on the day on which the visa expires.
  • You must not exceed the authorized length of stay during the validity of the visa.
  • If you have an authorized stay of 90 days, you must not stay in the Schengen area for more than 90 days in 180 days, this period not having to exceed the duration of the visa and the period of 90 days starting from run on the date of the first entry.

Which country is responsible for processing my visa application?

The Member State competent to handle a request visa and decide on it is the one whose territory constitutes the sole destination (or main) or the trips.

Atlys uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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